Is this the end of an era?
Straight, or straightened, hair may be falling out of fashion as curls make a huge comeback, local stylists say.
Not necessarily the curls produced by the once-popular perm, or permanent wave, but soft, wavy curls that point to a new period of romance and femininity.
Ranae Smigiel, an owner and stylist at Deja vu Salon in Plains Township, notes a generational divide between curly and straight styles.
"We have to remember that people who are in their teens to early 20s now really haven't been around the curl revolution. Their mothers never really got perms; they're in a straight-hair generation."
Last weekend, Smigiel studied in New York City with Bravo television's "What Not To Wear" stylist Nick Arrojo, who will bring the curl back next year with the Arrojo American Perm, a semi-permanent style that washes out after 20 shampoos.
The newly popular soft styles match the current fashion.
"It has to do with the style of the dresses people wear to formal events," Sarah Perhach, owner of Euphrazya Salon in Swoyersville, said. "The look is more casual now, and the hair needs to match that. A relaxed style is also flattering and pleasing to the eye, as opposed to a harsh, slicked-back look like a tight ponytail or bun."
Casual 'dos include messy buns, low side ponytails and loose braids, elements that can be mixed to create interesting looks. Still, the prevalent fashion is the curl, which can be achieved several different ways.
"Stylists are using finger waves and pin curls as platforms for styles now," Lauren Marshman, stylist and cosmetologist at RejuvenEssence in Plains Township, said.
The waterfall curl is the most easily achieved at home. Instead of clamping hair in a curling iron, the iron barrel is pointed downward and hair is wound around it. It's left there until hot, then gently unwound to create a loose curl.
Pin curls are formed by taking a section of hair that measures a quarter of an inch or less, lightly gelling it from root to tip, spiraling it upwards and pinning it at the root. They can be left in or taken out after the hair is dry to achieve a head full of soft curls.
Marshman said pin curls also are effective when a single one is placed by the ear to complement an up-do, giving the overall look a touch of romance.
The romanticism of today's up-and-coming hairstyles has roots in history, particularly the 1940s.
"During and after World War II, fashion was very simple, so women paid attention to their hair and makeup," Deirdra Argento, owner of Studio Bombshell in Wyoming, said. "They really took the time to do their hair, which is where a lot of the very sculpted and intricate curls come into play."